Anyone who has spent serious time in the gym knows knows the feeling: After spending hours upon hours hitting the weights as hard as anyone in the gym, you're just not making the gains you saw when you first began your routine.
Fear not! We've got the trick to ensure that pesky plateau is short-lived. It comes from none other than legendary body builder and seven-time Mr. Olympia champion, the Austrian Oak himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Like many uber-successful bodybuilders of his day, Arnold obtained his massive, chiseled physique in part with volume training, a.k.a. German Volume Training. It involves exhausting the muscle by banging out a moderate to high amount of reps across multiple sets.
In a volume training session you might do a super set—instead of performing one exercise until failure and dropping the weights, you pick up a second set of lighter weight and work until failure again. Boom—you've already upped the number of reps performed.
The result is that pseudo-orgasmic "pump" Arnold described in the famous weightlifting documentary Pumping Iron, in which the muscles become engorged with blood.
Trainer Cory Gregory, one of Arnold's most famous followers, says that obtaining the pump is a key to progress but it's too often ignored by otherwise dedicated weightlifters.
In an interview with Barbell Shrugged, Gregory explained what makes this time-tested volume training technique work.
What’s happening is these guys have read all these bodybuilding magazines for all these years, and Arnold and those guys had it right, I believe.
For me it’s the volume and the supersets. When I first met Arnold I was like we’ve got to bring it back’ kids don’t even know what a superset is. That stuff burns me to the core.
That's what changes the body. You have to stress the body if you want to grow.
We should probably listen to him, because just look at this guy.
The more you know, right? Now go hit the gym and heed this advice. You'll make Arnold proud.